Friday, December 5, 2008

The beauty of Bert Simon

Now, Bert Simon is not a name I know well, though I have met the man. He is a winemaker up in the Saar region of Germany. Maybe I have a picture of him. Let me go check. Then I will insert it here and then continue my story about his beauty.

Okay, I have a picture of him loaded. Here he is. We are not at his estate, but at Zilliken, at the home of the famous Hanno Zilliken of Forstmeister Geltz-Zilliken in the Saar.

Mr. Bert Simon did not make an impression on me when I visited Germany, because he was quiet, and reminded me of Bert Selbach of Dr. F. Weins-Prum. I tasted his wines, but there were so many wines that day tasted at Zilliken; first the Zilliken wines, then the Von Hovel wines (also from the Saar), then the Bert Simon wines, which we heard he was not making anymore, since he just sold the estate.

The reason he sold the estate was that he had no heirs to take over the winery. He actually did have children, but none of them could work in the winemaking business. Allergies or some such thing. I don't know the details, but all I heard was that Bert Simon was no longer making wine, but he had some back vintages to sell and here they were.

The other reason I am not familiar with the wines is that my mentor Randy Kemner of The Wine Country never really carried them, as far as I know.

So today, at a staff meeting down in the Carlsbad area, we had some wines to taste, and among them were these lovely Bert Simon wines. Fabulous older vintages including some Kabinetts, Spatleses, Ausleses and Goldkapsel Ausleses that just sang a beautiful tune. A relatively simple 2004 Bert Simon Serriger Herrenberg Riesling Kabinett that had some succulent light fruit and great backbone of acid, fantastic. An impressive 2005 Bert Simon Serriger Wurtzberg Riesling Spatlese that had richness, a mouthfeel that was unctuous and clean all at the same time. Then from the 10 years ago collection, a 1998 Bert Simon Serriger Wurtzberg Riesling Kabinett - a 10-year old Kabinett for God's sake! - delicious pleasant herbal qualities with balancing delicate fruit still there after all these years, and an amazing 1998 Bert Simon Serriger Wurtzberg Riesling GKA - this wine was all about clean eiswein. What does that mean? Rudi Wiest explained that 1998 was an eiswein vintage, and basically the top end stuff went into being bottle for Eiswein which sold at auction, while the second tiered eiswein got sold as regular eiswein, and the rest - put it in the GKA - pure razor-edged nectar without much botrytis at all. A contrast to a GKA from the same producer and vineyard I tasted which was a 1999 that was botrytized, darker in color and more honeyed in flavor.

Wine is so fun.

Thank goodness there is beauty like this in wine. Because it makes the driving in traffic and the begging and cajoling just a little more tolerable.


Samantha Dugan said...

So true, even on the crappiest of days a beautiful glass of wine can put things into perspective, relax you a bit and fill you with that, so romantic.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thanks for bringing these wines by The Wine Country, like an idiot I forgot to taste them last night before I left....maybe you can bring them to the Christmas party!